Email marketing guide: what strategies work best and how to use this tool in your business
Learn how to create email marketing campaigns, from list targeting to sending.
Long before social media appeared, email marketing already was a tool used by entrepreneurs and brands to maintain relationships with their customers, alert them about news/promotions and to provide support.
But, after so many years of using this tool, could it still have the potential to generate new business?
The short answer is yes, provided that you know how to create and optimize your campaigns.
Email is democratic (most people have an address, even if it’s for business); it’s simple to automate, and good cost-benefit value.
In today’s text, understand what email marketing is, what strategies work the most, and how to use this tool to help your business grow!
What is email marketing?
Email marketing is the use of email to promote products and services.
In order to send them, you need the recipients’ consent, which can be explicit when they subscribe to one of your lists, also known as opt-in authorization; and implicit, which is when they purchase any of your products.
Because it deals with previously authorized communication, the user can unsubscribe at any time if he/she feels that the content is no longer relevant to him/her.
Many marketing professionals argue that mailing lists are the main asset entrepreneurs can have because they concentrate people who have already expressed an interest in the brand and are, therefore, closer to taking action.
Advantages of using email marketing
With most brands entering social media, many people predicted that email would no longer be used, but the movement was just the opposite. Excessive noise and restrictions imposed by other channels made email the perfect form of communicating with leads and customers.
Think about Facebook for example. The social media currently restricts the reach of your organic publications to about 1% of its total audience. This means that even if you update your page frequently and are dedicated to creating quality content, you still need to use other tools to get your message to your customers.
With email, on the other hand, this does not happen. If people have registered to receive your content, your emails will go straight to the recipient’s Inbox, unless of course, you are barred by a SPAM filter (don’t worry, we’ll talk about the best practices for creating and sending an email).
Learn about other advantages of adopting email marketing in your strategy.
Everyone has email
Not everyone has a Facebook profile, but most people have an email account, even if it’s linked to work.
The reason for this is simple: all services offered online (Uber, Netflix, Spotify, etc.) require an email account to register. Email is also required for e-commerce purchases and to create profiles on social media as a way to prove that the user is a person and not a robot and consequently make the internet a safer environment.
In short, everyone who has a social media profile has an email account, but not everyone who has email has a social media profile, so you will reach more people if you use email marketing.
It’s an inexpensive tool
Email marketing is cheap compared to ad campaigns, for example.
You will only need to hire a triggering tool that will do all the work for you. Most of them have several template options that allow you to customize your communication.
Easy to measure
Email marketing has several indexes to measure whether the campaign was successful or not, such as the Opening rate, Click rate, Unsubscribing rate, etc. From this information, you can test the subject and the body of the email until you find out what works best for your audience.
It works for all business models
What do the Producer, the Affiliate, the e-commerce owner and the digital influence have in common?
They all need to talk to their audience and keep it interested. Therefore, email marketing is a tool that works for all business models.
You can segment your audience and schedule a sequence of emails predicting content for the different stages in which your lead is. Segmenting is the same as “separating” your consumers based on their preferences and similarities, we’ll also talk more about this below.
As your user realizes that you know their pain and desires, the more he/she will engage.
Check out other statistics at the Hubspot blog.
How to build your contact base: what to do and what not to do
What’s the use of writing good emails if you’re communicating with the wrong audience?
There are a few strategies you can put into practice to increase your email database and ensure that only users who are really interested remain. We’ll talk a little about them below, as well as show the most common mistakes.
Having a blog and keeping it updated
Creating an email list is painstaking work and can take time until you have an engaged base.
The first step in attracting these users is to show what they will gain in return, which in this case is your content.
Our tip is that you create a blog and keep it updated. This is a way of showing your work and building authority in the niche in which you operate. To do so, you will need content aligned with the expectations of your persona, in addition to a continuous work optimizing your page for search engines known as SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
One thing that can be done to “speed up” this process is to seek partnerships with blogs and pages that address the same subject as you and propose exchanges of guest posts. The goal of this strategy is to attract readers who have similar interests with your target audience and increase the number of referencing links to your content.
You can even create ad campaigns directing people to your blog, but it is worth noting that the amount of traffic is not the same as the generated leads. If visitors enter your page and do not find content that is relevant to them, they are unlikely to want to leave their email address.
Create a newsletter
Following the same example as the blog, it is also interesting that you have a newsletter to strengthen the relationship with your base. Through this tool, you can share information that is relevant to your audience and news from your other channels.
First of all, it is important to remember that the newsletter is not the same as promotional email, so it should never be focused on sales, but on generating value for those who are receiving it.
Focus less on you and your product and think about the kind of helpful information the reader would like to receive and help you solve a problem.
Offer rich material
Rich materials are more extensive and in-depth content than a blog post, such as e-books and infographics. As in the previous examples, they are excellent for generating value for your followers and nurture a relationship with them.
Here’s an example so you can understand how rich materials work:
A digital entrepreneur who has an online course about fashion can create an e-book on how to dress for a job interview and make it available for free.
“But why for free?” you might be wondering.
It seems counterintuitive; after all, it does not generate income, but you have to think about the number of people who will register to receive this content, because these users can become future customers if the e-book adds value to their lives.
Let’s look at another example.
When a website or app offers you free service in exchange for you trying it, what is your reaction? Either you mistrust it and reject it, or provide your contact information in exchange for the opportunity, right?
Over time, when you become better familiarized with the service you feel more confident to pay for it and even to recommend it to friends.
This is what we call mental trigger of reciprocity, which is when an entrepreneur or company offers a product without asking for anything in return, and the user feels inclined to reciprocate this “favor”.
Do you realize that even if you do not pay, the lead can still bring some financial return to the company?
In order to make rich material available, you can create a landing page using one of the 10 tools we recommend in one of the blog posts.
What to avoid
Buying lists from other people
A classic mistake entrepreneurs make is to buy mailing lists because they do not have the patience to build a database from scratch.
This is not only unethical; it also doesn’t bring financial results or visibility simply because such recipients have never shown an interest in you or your product.
Not making it clear how people can unsubscribe from your list
No matter how many good emails you create and deliver value to your audience, you will always have a user who doesn’t want to continue receiving your messages, either because of the frequency with which they are sent or because they don’t want to have contact with your brand at that moment.
According to the CAN-SPAM Act, companies have the obligation of creating a clear opt-out button so that users can exercise their right to unsubscribe from the respective recipient database.
But don’t worry, because users who find your content really valuable will remain on your mailing list and you can also use the responses of those who have unsubscribed to optimize your filters.
Sending non-segmented content
The email list is never homogeneous; there are several user profiles, from the person who has just signed up to the one who has already made a purchase. These people are at different stages in the buyer’s journey, so they need content aligned with their needs.
It is also important to take into account the demographic profile of your contacts. A user under the age of 20 should not be bombarded with campaigns targeted to seniors, just as a male lead is not the best audience to receive email marketing promoting maternity products.
Segmenting your content shows your customers that you really care about delivering something that is relevant to them, which in turn increases the engagement of your base.
How to segment your list
In order to segment your list, you’ll need certain information from your lead and a good marketing automation tool.
Be sure to use opt-in forms with only the data you’ll need from that user at a first, and include data obtained from surveys.
You’ll also need to design your email filters before you start the triggering. If you want to create a special campaign for Mother’s Day, you’ll need to define how many emails will be sent, their purpose and the period of time.
Users who didn’t make a purchase on Mother’s Day may return to another filter to receive offers other than maternity; after all, this is not their only interest.
It seems like a lot of information, but don’t be overwhelmed!
Most email triggering tools enable you to segment your list, send messages and deliver performance metrics for your campaign automatically.
Types of segmentation
The simplest form of segmenting your list is by using your customers’ and potential customers’ demographics, such as age, gender, and location. Take advantage of all interactions to feed your contact database with information about your leads’ interests.
Users’ behavior on your page tells a lot about the type of information that may be relevant to them. Monitor your customers’ most common questions and identify the level of interest they show in your products and services to create campaigns that are specific to each need.
This form of segmentation is based on the metrics from your previous campaigns. Perform A/B testing to find out which titles convert the most, which email had the most clicks and which generated the most sales results.
What is lead nurturing and how to put it into practice in your email marketing campaigns?
Nurturing leads means maintaining a relationship with potential customers until these users feel safe to make a purchase.
The technique consists in sending a sequence of emails with content pertinent to the stage where the lead is in the filter in order to establish your authority in that segment and to show that your solution is ideal for the problem that users face.
This process begins immediately with the welcoming email, when someone signs up to receive a newsletter or downloads rich material. It’s almost as if the company was saying, “Hey, I’m here if you need help.”
In order to create a flow of nurturing leads, you will need to know what your goal is, who your persona is and define the content that will be delivered at each stage. It’s worth remembering that this flow can be changed throughout the campaign as you realize which emails are performing better.
We recently talked about lead nurturing, we suggest that you also read the text after you finish here.
What types of email can you send?
Newsletters are sent periodically to your entire contact database or to those who have expressed an interest in receiving them.
The goal of promotional emails is to advertise a promotion or product. It can be used for paid products as well as rich materials. Unlike newsletters, these emails focus on conversion and demand action from the reader.
Payment confirmation, request refunds, download confirmations, password change, end of free trial are examples of transactional emails.
These emails are sent in order to advance the lead to the next step in the sales filter. They can also be used to recover users who haven’t engaged yet.
Good email marketing practices
You’ll only know if your email marketing campaign is good after you try it, but there are certain practices you can observe at when creating your emails, such as:
No one wants to feel like they’re talking to a robot. And we are not just talking about the user’s name at the beginning of the email, but rather using language that is closer and addressing the pains and themes that are of your persona’s interest.
Have content to offer
Creating a flow for your emails is critical to know what kind of material you can offer.
Suppose you used an e-book as a digital offer for your list, what will the next step be? Would this user like to receive an infographic on the same subject?
Predicting this journey is important because you need to have your rich materials ready when the opportunity arises to send them. This reinforces your authority on the subject and helps you keep your list “hot” for you to introduce an offer.
Have a CTA in all emails
Calls to action are essential to guide your users to the next steps and are essential in all emails you send, regardless if they are about a free or a paid offer.
In the case of a newsletter, CTAs should direct the reader to pages where he/she can find more in-depth content on that subject.
Create eye-catching titles
Many people argue that titles are responsible for 90% of their email marketing results; after all, if the person is not interested in the subject, they won’t even open it to read the rest. So spend as much time as you need to create good titles for your email.
A good title should instigate the curiosity of the lead and foster urgency because you want users to open the email as soon as they receive it. To do this, there are mental triggers.
Another tip is to use terms that trigger an immediate connection between the message and your product. Thus, the recipient is not in doubt whether the email is trustworthy.
Avoid long texts
It’s no secret that the use of mobile phones has grown a lot in recent years. Nowadays, everyone has a smartphone, and nearly half of the world population accesses the internet through their cell phones. This number is even higher among young people.
Because of this, we can obviously conclude that people who read your emails are doing this from smaller screens. To keep up with the trend, you should avoid texts that are too long and insert breathing space between information, preferably with images.
This not only makes your emails more original, but also adds to your users’ experience.
What indexes should you pay attention to?
Nothing is so good that it cannot be improved. Therefore, tracking the performance of your campaigns is critical in order to optimize upcoming submissions and ensure even better results. Check out the indexes you should keep an eye on.
The click-through rate represents the audience who clicked on the body text links. If you’re trying to sell a product, the click-through rate is the number of people who read the email and went to the sales page.
The conversion rate is the percentage of recipients who clicked on your link and completed the action you expected from them that might be downloading content, buying a product, signing up for a course, etc.
The cancellation rate represents the users who have asked to be removed from your list. A cancellation rate of less than 1% is considered good.
You can also use heatmap tools to find out which areas of your email people are clicking the most. These metrics, when analyzed together, help determine if the content you’re delivering is appropriate for the audience you’ve targeted.
What should a good email-marketing tool contain?
1) Easy to use
Do you have HTML language skills to create your emails? If your answer is no, then you will need an intuitive and easy-to-use tool, preferably with a drag-and-drop option.
2) Sender configuration
To send email marketing it is necessary to have an authenticated domain since this helps the message’s credibility. Make sure your tool allows you to set up a domain as your sender for your campaigns, so it’s easier for recipients to associate that content with you.
3) High delivery rates
A good email marketing tool ensures that the email will be delivered directly to the user’s Inbox and will not be barred by SPAM filters. Search for other users’ opinions to see how reliable the service is and choose the one with the highest delivery rate.
4) Database management
Your platform should automatically handle sending errors and remove invalid emails from your database so you don’t have to review the list every time you submit a new campaign.
5) Targeting options
Segmentation allows you to be more assertive when targeting your content. The chosen trigger tool must have various filters to divide your contact list based on age, gender, location, interests, etc.
6) Template options
This criterion is essential for more personalized communication, which also helps to provide more credibility to the recipient.
7) Metrics and results
Your email tool should deliver complete results of your campaigns’ performance since this information will be instrumental in optimizing the next triggers.
8) Efficient support
Regardless of whether you are starting to create campaigns now or if you have been working with email marketing for some time, there will eventually be certain doubts about the platform and nothing is more frustrating than contacting support service and waiting days to be answered.
Search for reviews from other clients to identify the company with the most efficient support. Our tip is to find one that also provides support by phone, since this optimizes response time.
If you don’t speak other languages, opt for multilingual tools so that communication with the service provider is more effective.
9) Fast contact export
Perhaps at some point, you’ll need to have your mailing list at hand. Look for tools that allow you to export the data to a file that you can download quickly and intuitively.
10) A/B testing
A/B testing consists of creating more than one version of an email and creating elements such as subject, message, and call-to-action variations. They are important to know your audience better and optimize your email marketing strategy.
11) Preview option
The same message may have different views according to the user’s device or email provider. Therefore, it is important to check your email’s preview before sending it.
12) Integration with analysis tools
Integrated triggering tools with Google Analytics let you know the impact of your email marketing campaigns on your page’s traffic, which is essential to knowing if it’s worth continuing to invest.
Email marketing is already a very economical channel; therefore, price should never be the only differential when making your choice. Study different proposals to find the one that suits you best, taking into account all the criteria that we mentioned in the text.
Step by step on how to create email marketing
Is it really necessary to purchase an automation service to send your emails?
The answer is yes: in addition to saving time, the financial return of emails sent is practically guaranteed.
We know that after reading this text you still need some time to absorb the information, so we share a complete video tutorial teaching you how to create your first email list in MailChimp, which is one of the most used tools in the world and offers free plans for beginners.
It is important to keep in mind that the free option has a limited number of emails sent, so assess whether the plan offered meets your needs.
Are you ready to get started? Read our text with the 4 ways to make money with a blog and learn how to generate income through your other channels.